The RNLI has negotiated a £4 million VAT rebate with the assistance of chartered accountant Saffery Champness.
The repayment relates to VAT incurred during the past five years that had previously been thought to be irrecoverable. However, following discussions with Customs, the charity's liability over membership subscription income and VAT recovery methods has been revised, leading to a greater rebate.
"We are absolutely delighted that RNLI has been able to secure such a large repayment to further its work," said Russell Moore, who led the Saffery Champness VAT advisory team.
"This illustrates that many, if not most, charities substantially underclaim VAT that they are perfectly entitled to recover. It is also disappointing that Customs would appear to only look one way when inspecting charities' VAT records," he said.